The secret to staying focused and present in every meditation, even when your monkey mind is fully active.
You sit down to meditate, set your timer, close your eyes and before you know it the ending bell rings. You just spent most of the meditation planning your day, thinking of that painful conversation or milling over how you are going to pay the bills this month.
You were hoping to get thirty minutes of self-connection, expansive awareness and peace, and instead, you got more stress and tension. Frustrated with yourself, you get up and start the day. You don’t feel motivated to meditate again since all you do is think about the same stuff that you think about when you are not trying to meditate. Does this sound familiar?
It was for me. I felt like I was failing at meditation since the bulk of my time on the mat was spent lost in thought. Ok, so there were short moments of clarity and connection but they were few and far between.
This inner struggle continued for many years. I attended numerous silent retreats. There were times when I meditated for two hours a day and times when I did not meditate at all. I tried various different techniques. All of which seemed to work for a while and then stop working. No matter what I tried, I would always go back to my default mode of thinking about past and future. I wondered:
“What does it take to be present in the here and now in every meditation?”
It was on a retreat in 2014, that I met the Dyad meditation process. I sat down opposite my meditation partner, looked into his eyes and began responding to the inquiry question. I was immediately transported into a deep state of focus and concentration. It was quite a psychedelic experience in many ways. I was surprised at how easy it was for me to stay fully focused and present for the full duration of the meditation practice.
There is something about being witnessed by another human being that helps me to stay present for longer stretches of time. Meditating alone, I can easily get lost in the magnetic pull towards thinking. When there is someone else present, I am supported to stay with what is going on for me in the moment. It is almost as if the presence of two focused minds is more powerful than one.
There is something magical about being fully immersed in the human experience but not doing so alone.
“Your path is yours to walk, but you do not have to walk it alone.”
What exactly is a Dyad?
Below is a broad brushstrokes explanation of the process. For a free mini-course and a more detailed explanation of Dyads click here.
In the context of meditation, a Dyad is a process that lasts forty minutes. Every Dyad has two participants who alternate every five minutes between the roles of speaker and witness. At the beginning of each five-minute round, the witness will ask an enquiry question and the speaker will then have five minutes to explore the question. When the five minutes are up, a bell will sound and the participants will switch roles. They continue to switch roles every five minutes for the full forty minutes.
Awakening to Life is not only for monks and nuns.
Years ago, I believed that living a spiritual life meant isolating yourself in a cave in the Himalayas for years at a time. I have come to realise that spirituality is everywhere, all the time. It is in my relationship to life: Life in myself as well as the life around me and in others.
The Dyad process not only supports me to stay more present with what is going on inside me but also supports me to witness in real time how I am in relationship with others. I get to witness the life that is moving through me as I sit directly across from another human being.
Dyads are how I practice bringing spirituality into my day-to-day interactions. They help me to stay present and to notice those contractions that have me closing myself off from life.
Looking for a dyad partner?
Check out our events page for the next series of free online Dyad sessions